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« Best Job in Science: Rubik's Cube Researcher | Main | When Lions, Buffaloes and Crocodiles Attack—At the Same Time »


Eric H

So when does someone provide a diesel plug-in hybrid?

Harry Chong

Toyota has in fact created a plug-in hybrid (but not diesel).

Eric H

I have only heard of after-market conversions. Is there anything sold and supported by the automakers?


Hmmm those staid Europeans have only known and driven fuel sipping diesels for 50 years minimum. Really makes you wonder why Americans could not have caught on sooner than waiting for Honda regardless of California EPA rules. Sounds to me like the oil lobby is alive and oppressing gee thanks George... Hydrogen please and fill 'er up!

Todd L

Diesel + hybrid = sale!

Todd L

I thought VW would have offered a diesel hybrid by now, but no. And why not? Certainly the Germans can engineer something like a diesel hybrid.

Todd L

One last WOW factor for me: Add to the diesel-hybrid a factory equiped vegetable oil tank/filter system in the trunk. It doesn't have to be too large, 5 gallons at most. The trunk is a great place to keep the veggie juice warm in the winter. There's only a couple thousand people already doing this to their current diesel powered vehicle. The only thing keeping others is the know-how. Can you imagine getting bulk veggie oil at the warehouse club? They would have to devote a tenth of their floor space for all the veggie oil they'd have to stock.


The reason that we are just now getting high mpg diesel cars like Europe has, is because we are just now getting ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for those cars to run on. The new engines just can't take the old diesel fuel used in trucks.

Some Guy

FYI, maybe it depends where you live, but diesel doesn't _always_ cost less. It fluctuates independently of gasoline though. But this winter, diesel was a dollar more...


Europeans have 45% of passenger cars as diesel versions as 1) taxes on diesel are less so the cost per liter is less, and 2) per liter, a diesel takes you further. The drawback is a higher cost, a noisier and dirtier engine AND, due to the addition of turbo chargers to counteract the lack of torque, engine unreliability relative to a well-tuned gas engine. Take away the artificially lower cost, and there is no real advantage to a diesel. The Honda's hybrid failed because of its underperforming algorithims and drivetrain management relative to Toyota -- i.e. it was not competitive. Toyota is due to come out with a 2009 Prius that is bigger, faster and MORE economical.

salvador louro

Sorry Some Guy, but your two reasons are not exactly true. As an European I must say that your number 1 reason is only true in some countries of the EU. In terms of cost of producing one engine, it only depends on the market share. In terms of noise we are used to four cylinder engine´s noise to compare to a diesel engine noise, instead of your gas V6s and V8s. If we compare our gasoline V12 or w12 to the same diesel ones we can hear no diference, and the same happen if you compare V8s. In terms of noise of the V6 and 4 cylinder engines, the diesel is always somewhat louder, but do we care? NO.
We will have some Hybrid diesels in a few months time, search for Peugeot 308. But we do have over 4 million GPL vehicles running in Europe, and those can make over 1000km when you fill them up. (sorry for my poor english)


Sulfur emissions is the primary reason the US does not have alot of non-comercial diesel engines on the road. With the higher emission standards in this area, the engines have trouble passing the smog tests in California.


"...due to the addition of turbo chargers to counteract the lack of torque..."
by Some Guy

Sorry, but this is completely false. First, diesels offer much more torque than comparable gasoline engines. Second, turbos offer greater efficiency, but at a LOSS of torque (and horsepower) low in the range when torque is useful. This is the dreaded "turbo lag" you hear about when discussing turbocharged cars. If torqu were the consideration, a supercharger would be used because it produces torque lower in the range since it is driven by the engine directly.

"This makes diesel engines high torque rather than high horsepower, and that tends to make diesel cars slow in terms of acceleration"

"One of the main problems with turbochargers is that they do not provide an immediate power boost when you step on the gas. It takes a second for the turbine to get up to speed before boost is produced. This results in a feeling of lag when you step on the gas, and then the car lunges ahead when the turbo gets moving."

Don Bosch

Diesels also have trouble with EPA particulate emissions standards (PM-10, PM-2.5), especially in Clean Air Act non-attainment areas in CA and AZ. If you've ever seen the back of a diesel Benz or Rabbit you'll know why. A better filter for particulates that doesn't restrict exhaust airflow - probably electrostatic or some such thing - will open diesels up to markets in Cal and Aridzona that are pretty much restricted right now. The Phoenix and LA markets drive what we eventually drive nationwide.

More on PM-10/-2.5 at EPA here.

Ryan Waxx

Another reason is the refining process - You can't covert a large percentage of a given quantity of oil to diesel, and the rest has to go to another use... often gasoline.

The rest of the oil is going to be used anyway, so people using diesels are just shifting the environmental costs elsewhere and then crowing about it.

The reason Europe uses more diesel CARS? Simple. Its because they use far,far less diesel TRUCKS... of the 16-wheeler variety... than we do.

But of course a news story about America's massive, already-existing use of diesel fleets wouldn't make it past the editor's desk. Not newsworthy, y'see. But a much smaller amount of diesel cars in Europe? HOLD THE PRESSES.

otis wildflower

Sorry Sean, but my turbodiesel Benz has just over 400,000 miles on it, and the turbo is cranking happily without fail. Your troll fails at life.


Europeans have traditionally worried more about fuel economy whereas Americans have worried more about air quality.

otis wildflower

BTW diesel price is on a different seasonal rhythm than gas (though both are partly related based on how refiners decide to weight their process ratios). Diesel is more expensive than gas in the winter, because of home heating oil (which is essentially the same thing, you could run your diesel car on it except you'd be busted for avoiding road tax), less expensive in the summer because you don't need home heating oil then.


Where I live diesels are very common, just not in cars. Most families here in mountainous rural Utah have a full-sized pickup they use to haul hay, trailers, go camping and hunting - and as a passenger car (the vast majority are double or extra cab with seating for 5-6). Diesels are the overwelming choice for reasons of maintenance, torque, and fuel efficiency.

If automakers (other than VW which has gone back and forth on selling diesels in the US) would offer more small and midsized cars, pickups and SUVs with diesel engines they would have no trouble selling them in the mountain west.


I had a diesel VW Rabbit for a while 20 years ago. It performed acceptably well, although it was only a 4-speed.

The problem was that, here in southwestern Ohio, the winters can get pretty cold, and diesel fuel turns into jelly. I went nearly insane trying to get that start started. The dealer I bought it from kinda "forgot" to mention that particular little issue.

Have they addressed the problem in modern cars? Are things like engine-block heaters standard equipment now? I know a fair number of the semi- drivers keep their engines running all night during cold weather. It's cheaper and easier than trying to start a cold engine in the morning. Or it used to be. :)

Bob Loblaw

No, the really amazing thing is that three on-subject comments were posted before #4 finally blames George for... well, just about anything. The Kos-sacks must have been distracted by something shiny when this entry was posted.


Sorry, Bob Loblaw, I don't see what's so odd about Rich's comment.

Rich is merely accusing Bush of oppressing America in service of the oil lobby over the last 50 years.

Y'know, since Bush was ten years old.

What's so nutty about that? Lots of fourth graders work for vast global conspiracies.


Bush had a father who was President, and Bush had a grandfather who was Senator. 10 years old, but lots of connections. learn your history so you don't sound so ignorant.



Quentin @ Tuscaloosa, AL

Actually, I consider myself lucky to have purchased a used 2005 honda hybrid and I absolutely love it. After installing an aftermarket intake air filter and added fully synthetic motor oil, I'm getting 40+ MPGs on the hwy and stellar 25+ MPGs for heavy stop and go traffic conditions in the city. Try to compare that hwy mileage to the Yota's hybrids. If you want more proof, visit http://www.greenhybrid.com/ and they list real gas mileage per hybrid vehicle. The HAH (Honda Accord Hybrid) is a precision vehicle, thus driving it takes practice to maximize gas efficiency. If you drive heavy hwy mileage, the HAH beats the Camry Hybrid hands down in all venues.

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